The Catholic bishops of Scotland have “warmly welcomed” a potential papal visit later this year.
It comes amid speculation that the Holy Father is ‘considering’ paying a visit to the country to coincide with the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
“While the decision on whether or not the pope attends the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow will be a matter entirely for the Holy See, Scotland’s Catholic bishops would warmly welcome his presence, however briefly, in this country,” a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland told The Catholic Universe.
Speculation surrounding Pope Francis scheduling a trip to the country began after The Timesreported that it ‘understood’ the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland had been told to prepare for the possibility of such a visit.
The newspaper said it ‘understands that the pope is considering making his first visit to Scotland for the crucial environmental meeting in November, with discussions taking place ‘at the highest level’’.
It pointed out that the Holy Father’s political visits, including his addresses to the European parliament in Strasbourg, tend to be quick one-day trips and noted that a visit to Glasgow would more than likely see him confined to the COP26 summit.
Pope Francis has been very outspoken on climate change. In his encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, he stressed that climate change is real and ‘mainly a result of human activity’.
The UK’s ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, told The Times: “Everyone who is a member of the UN framework convention on climate change can attend and that includes the Holy See, which has observer status.
“It is perfectly possible they will attend but it is up to them to decide the level of representation.”
Picture: Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 28th February 2021. (CNS photo/Vatican Media).